Do people still read blogs?

It’s a legit question.

I used to follow something like 200 blogs. It’s how I started every day– going through all the new posts. I haven’t done that in a long while– basically, life got too crazy and something had to give. But I wonder if that is true for everyone. A group I’m in on Facebook was discussing the decline/downfall of the blog.

I’m not getting rid of my website or anything. It’s cathartic for me to have an online place to share. Plus I know people access my OCD materials daily. I just wonder how this site will shift in the coming years.

We shall see.

Life lately: good, hard, heartbreaking, rewarding, full of laughter, full of tears.

So, the usual. 🙂

If you still regularly read this blog, leave me a comment! Consider it a mini marketing research study.

xo jack

 

 

 

 

 

Wilderness

What a week. Actually, two weeks.

My association is doing a massive construction project, and it’s been a pain at every step. I had to cancel three appointments at various times because construction either blocked me from leaving or blocked people from getting to me. I had to replace a variety of plumbing pieces, and then my basement flooded and I had to replace more. Today they hit our gas line.

I feel like I’ve been a drum major tossing out my spoons like candy at a parade. (If you’re not family with Spoon Theory, replace “spoons” with “limited energy.”)

Plus it’s my uggo time of the month, different from my period. There are 2-4 days a month when my body feels like it has parts that don’t fit, usually my neck. Yes. It feels like my neck is a foreign object being rejected by my real body. Cool. During these few days, my skin is also dull and I feel tremendously ugly, even though I know my hormones will chill within a week. Being a girl is glorious sometimes, hmm?

I’m re-reading The Writing Life by Annie Dillard and finding it even better than previous reads. This is the first weekend I’ve had to myself in a long while, and I’m going to use it to fight through the tangled brush of fear, avoidance, shame, and sheer overwhelmedness to get to my manuscript. I have tools. I’m ready to do this. The jungle of resistance will not claim me.

The wilderness is not unknown to me. I’ve spent time wandering there. Man, this is making me think of the O.C. Supertones when they nailed it in this song. I hope you’ll listen. It starts pretty upbeat (yay ska!) but ends pretty subdued and humbled.

I’m typing this from my phone and will have to go back in later and embed the video properly. Hugs to all.

The Clobbering Majesty of the Lilac

The first scent of lilacs in the late spring makes me think, oddly, of childbirth.

Stick with me for a second here.

Some women are said to later remember the actual pain of labor as less intense than it actually was. This, I would guess, contributes to having more children. I’m not a mother.

But I do know that every winter, I remember the glory of lilacs as less intense than it actually was. This, I would guess, contributes to surviving winter. I live in Minnesota.

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Restless Graduates

My university just had commencement last weekend, and I’ve already been contacted by multiple restless graduates.

I don’t know what to do with myself now.
School and finals were going 100 mph, and suddenly everything has stopped.
For years now, I’ve had assignments and feedback, direction and advice, and now I’m … on my own. 

md-duran-628456-unsplashI remember feeling the same way. During my years as a creative writing major, I remembered thinking how when I graduated I would finally have time to read all the books I wanted and to work on my own creative projects. But when I graduated, I realized I barely remembered how to read for fun– or how to embark on a writing project that wasn’t a class assignment.

It comes. It does.

What helped me was setting into a new routine, joining a writing group for creative companionship and accountability, embracing rest, and forcing myself to read. Yes, forcing– even though I had very much looked forward to it, I didn’t know how to start. I had to basically assign myself a book. Once those wheels were re-greased, everything got easier.

I remember going back to my campus– it had been my home for three years, and suddenly I had to check in with the guard shack like I was a stranger. It was such a jarring experience. I felt a little … chewed up and spat out. It wasn’t the school’s fault. It’s just the nature of transition. The Next Big Thing felt both too sudden (boom! you’re a graduate! figure it out!) and too slow (what do I do with all this time now?).

It sorts itself out. Life. God. Friends. Time. Priorities.

Be patient, give yourself grace, find a community, and– if necessary– grind through the hard stuff. You’ll be okay.

Lies My Hormones Tell Me

My hormones and body chemistry and missed-a-day-of-meds OCD and depression are leaning hard into cruel lies today, amongst them:

  • you will be alone forever
  • you are no one’s priority
  • no one really changes
  • two steps forward, ten steps back
  • good doesn’t return to you
  • everyone is annoyed by your whining
  • you’re an embarrassment

But I know these are lies, deep, deep inside. That is something. Maybe everything.

Dear Diary: Asking for Help

Hi friends,

I simultaneously feel like I have a hundred exciting things happening in my life … and nothing to blog about. Ha!

Life feels good. Not perfect. Improving.

Health, heart, writing, finances, relationships: I have been so intentional about healing and growth this year. I know it’s only May, but the changes already are unbelievable. I feel really grateful.

The easiest way to summarize it all is with one piece of advice: ASK FOR HELP.

ask

I, who used to be so anathema to asking for help, have fully embraced it as the wisest, healthiest option.

Sometimes this costs money (hiring an organizer, meeting with a therapist); sometimes not (prayer, finding a friend or colleague who is skilled at something you aren’t).

It gets easier and easier. I challenge you to ask for help for something this week– anything, anyone, according to your needs and resources. If you’re someone who really hates this, start small. But do it. And then tell me about it in the comments.

Mojo

Last Sunday through Wednesday, I took my usual spring pilgrimage to Duluth, a time to read, write, rest, and think. Some years feel ultra productive; some years I spin my wheels a bit.

This year felt huge.

Most importantly, I was able to tackle two issues with Salt Novel that I haven’t had the time, energy, or creativity to solve since January 2018. I’m ready now. I have my solutions. The knot is to the stage where its untying is inevitable.

I also worked on my novel in bite-sized pieces. I’m reminded that showing up is 85% of my battle. If I show up and work on a one-square-inch part of the story, and do it enough times, it gets done.

This trip to Duluth also gave me some of my mojo back. Self doubt is such a poison. It’s the biggest barrier to my creative projects. That and comparison. Double-edged sword.

So I’m in a good place. I wanted you to know.